Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., outside Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in New York, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.

Gina Moon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The reasons were different. Meta struggled with shrinking free cash flow while continuing to spend money in the meta universe. Alphabet said ad sales were slowing as YouTube reported its first revenue decline. And Microsoft was weighed down by weak guidance and cloud revenue that fell short of expectations. Amazon missed revenue estimates and signaled a weak holiday quarter and declining profits.

But Apple now looks much more stable than its peers, especially as recession fears begin to weigh on ad sales and potential holiday spending. In large part, that’s because Apple relies on hardware and services that people still buy.

Mac revenue is up 25% year-over-year, for example. And while iPhone revenue missed estimates, it still grew 9.67% year-over-year. Services also rose 4.98% year-on-year, despite missing analysts’ forecasts.

And Apple pulled through while the larger phone and computer industries saw big declines. Global smartphone shipments fell 9% in the third quarter, while Apple’s shipments rose 8% despite higher-priced devices, research firm Canalys estimated this week.

“Demand for premium devices remains intact,” Cowen’s Krish Sankar wrote in a note on Friday.

In short, Apple’s business remains strong and demand for its products remains high around the world, even in emerging markets, defying downward trends in global smartphone sales from other brands.

“Following Apple’s F4Q22 results, it remains our top pick and we believe it is likely to remain a relatively safe haven for many as the macro environment remains highly uncertain and volatile,” Credit Suisse’s Cross said. Cross added that Apple’s results show the company continues to grow in every region it sells in, despite recent price increases and weakening consumer sentiment.

Apple’s quarterly guidance was also largely in line with expectations, compared to companies such as Amazon, which posted a weaker holiday quarter.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri said year-over-year total revenue would rise in December, but slower than the 8.1 percent rise in the September quarter.

But the statistics still showed many analysts that Apple would continue its streak of sales growth that has been in place since the start of the pandemic. Keep in mind that next quarter’s growth will have to come off the huge $124 billion sales base from last year’s December quarter.

However, the way Apple now provides guidance through data points leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and some analysts believe the current quarter may be worse than the market is pricing in. At least one even thinks Apple’s data point suggests a decline in the quarter.

“Apple is basically saying that revenue will be down next quarter,” Bernstein’s Tony Sacconaghi said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday, noting that Apple’s December quarter has an extra week this year.

Sacconaghi said some of Apple’s peers in Big Tech also appear to be having trouble controlling costs while Apple remains relatively lean and profitable.

While Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told analysts that the company is seeing the effects of inflation on its costs, particularly in logistics, it has also weathered the chip supply shortage well and said on Thursday that it has not had a shortage of silicon during the quarter.

Apple is not immune to the ad slowdown affecting Meta and Alphabet, although Cook said Thursday that ads are a very small part of Apple’s services business.

Add it all up, and you can see why some analysts see Apple as recession-proof.

“Overall, our view remains consistent that Apple remains recession-proof given its products, services and wearables business,” Piper Sandler’s Harsh Kumar wrote.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.